Untangling the Emotional Intelligence-Suicidal Ideation Connection: The Role of Cognitive Emotion Regulation Strategies in Adolescents
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Emotion regulation strategiesEmotional intelligenceSuicide riskAdolescence
Quintana-Orts, C.; Mérida-López, S.; Rey, L.; Neto, F.; Extremera, N. Untangling the Emotional Intelligence-Suicidal Ideation Connection: The Role of Cognitive Emotion Regulation Strategies in Adolescents. J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9, 3116. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9103116
SponsorshipUniversity of Malaga; PAIDI Group CTS-1048; Junta de Andalucia/FEDER funds UMA 18-FEDERJA-147
Though contemporary scientific literature addressing the links between emotional intelligence (EI) and suicidal ideation in adolescents is scarce, one of the potential proposed pathways through which EI may reduce the risk of suicidal ideation involves its relationship with the use of adaptive coping strategies. The aim of this research is to provide support for an empirical pathway that proposes that the effects of EI on suicide risk may follow an indirect pathway, involving maladaptive and adaptive cognitive emotion regulation strategies, using both cross-sectional and prospective design in two independent studies with Spanish adolescents. The sample of Study 1 consisted of 1824 students (52.4% female; mean age 14.55 years). In Study 2, 796 adolescents (54.4% female; mean age 13.76 years) filled out the measures twice, four months later. The results confirmed a positive association between EI and adaptive cognitive emotion regulation strategies and a negative link with suicidal ideation. As expected, the results showed that both cross-sectionally (Study 1) and prospectively (Study 2) EI predicted lower suicidal ideation. Bootstrap mediation analysis indicated that only adaptive cognitive emotion regulation strategies partially mediated the link between EI and suicidal ideation both cross-sectionally and prospectively. Together, those adolescents who showed higher EI were more likely to report more adaptive cognitive emotion regulation, which in turn predicted lower levels of suicidal ideation. Our findings suggest possible avenues for prevention and intervention efforts aimed at boosting emotional abilities and developing adaptive coping strategies among adolescents who are at elevated suicide risk.